Programming for Food Security

Project Team

Significant improvements have been made in food security analysis in recent years, and the range of potential responses to protect and promote food security has been substantially broadened. But it remains unclear whether these changes have resulted in improved program choice or improved impact. Building on several years of specific inquiries, the Feinstein International Center is launching a series of new studies that will look into this question.

The Feinstein study on Targeting in Complex Emergencies led the World Food Programme to rethink the way in which it involves recipient communities in the management and targeting of assistance in conflict and complex emergencies. New Program Guidance Notes, written by the Feinstein team, are now being implemented by WFP Country Programs.

The SOFI report of 2010 has resulted in the issue of food security in protracted crises being taken up by the Committee on Food Security (CFS) of the Food and Agriculture Organization, and wider recognition of protracted crises as a context that requires more nuanced responses.

With recent food crises at both regional and global levels, and renewed commitments from major donor countries to address chronic hunger, food security is more prominent on the policy agenda...

Daniel Maxwell, Bapu Vaitla

• August 2013

The term ‘response analysis’ implies that response choices are made solely on the basis of evidence and analysis. However, many factors contribute to how agencies select a response, and ‘response choice’ does not always involve an evidence-based, analytical process.

Daniel Maxwell, John Parker

• February 2013

This research considers “response analysis”: the analytical process by which the objectives and modality of program response options in an emergency are determined. The research question was whether improved analysis drives program response choices in humanitarian food security interventions?

Daniel Maxwell, Heather Stobaugh

• August 2012

In May 2011, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) formally launched the global Food Security Cluster (FSC) as the UN’s global mechanism for coordinating food...

Daniel Maxwell, John Parker

• October 2011

The World Food Programme has been providing humanitarian food assistance to vulnerable communities and groups in Southern Sudan for over twenty years, but circumstances have changed following the signing of...

Daniel Maxwell, Amanda Sim, Mercy Mutonyi

• October 2006

On The Choice and Impacts of Innovative International Food Assistance Instruments

This article evaluates the impacts and value-added of several food assistance instruments, such as local and regional procurement, cash, and vouchers. Published in World Development in September 2013.

Coordination in food security crises: a stakeholder analysis of the challenges facing the global food security cluster

The paper linked below analyzes a series of country level case studies and key informant interviews with stakeholders in a range of roles. The authors consider the special challenges the global Food Security Cluster (FSC) faces. In addition, they ask: will FSC provide the leadership needed for complex, multi-dimensional responses needed to protect food security and livelihoods in disasters? What are the special challenges the cluster faces? Published in Food Security in March 2012.

Characteristics and strategies favouring sustained food access during Guinea’s food-price crisis

The following study examines household food-access status in rural areas of Guinea, a poor, net food-importing West African state, during the height of the food-price crisis. Linking a household’s food-access status with specific household characteristics and strategies, the article provides evidence on those unique characteristics and strategies favouring sustained food access during the price crisis. Published in Development in Practice in June 2011.

Fit for purpose? Rethinking food security responses in protracted humanitarian crises

This paper considers “the relief to development continuum,” long dismissed as a conceptual framework yet not replaced as a programmatic framework. The authors suggest a multi-dimensional way of conceiving of “emergency” responses and “development,” and propose a more systematic way of thinking about response.  Ethiopia is noted as an example where elements of this new approach are taking shape. Published in Food Policy in 2010.

Articles from Disasters special issue: “Food Security in Sudan”

The articles linked below were published in a special issue of Disasters, consisting of a selection of the best papers presented at a June 2006 forum organized by Feinstein and WFP. The specific purpose of the forum was to inform WFP’s strategic planning, and to allow WFP staff in Sudan to imagine alternative roles to the emergency-driven distribution of food aid that had come to dominate their operations in 2005–2006.

The second paper listed below spells out the evolving drivers of food aid policy and their effect on Sudan. It then argues that three major factors at the global level will determine the nature and availability of food aid in coming years: 1) the changing global governance regime for food aid, 2) donor trends, and 3) the emergence of standards for good practice in food assistance.